High school musicals, plays

Students have been rehearsing for upcoming musicals and plays. The productions begin on area high school stages in March and continue through April.

Curtains will be rising and theater lights will spotlight area student actors and actresses as they present musicals and plays on high school stages.

Schools not included in the list have already presented productions, have not scheduled performances or did not respond with information.

Berlin Brothersvalley

“High School Musical”

Disney’s “High School Musical” centers on the blossoming relationship between Troy, a high school jock, and Gabriella, the new smart girl at school.

They meet on a family vacation while singing in a karaoke competition. Rediscovering each other at school, their relationship and their surprise decision to audition together for the school show are thwarted by the school’s leading lady, Sharpay, and Troy and Gabriella’s well-meaning friends. Finally, Gabriella and Troy find a way to be themselves and are rewarded with the lead roles in the school show. Full of catchy songs and exciting dance routines, “High School Musical” explores issues of friendship, first love and acceptance.

“Our musical season at Berlin has been full of energy while working on Disney’s ‘High School Musical.’ The students, who grew up loving the original movie, were beyond excited to learn that this would be our 2019 production. We hold auditions in the fall and choose our show after auditioning interested students. Not only are we embracing the theme of the show, that you should be true to yourself, but we also are able to bring different social groups of BBHS students together, similar to the plot in the show. A few of our varsity basketball players have joined the cast as well, which has added some serious skills to ‘Getcha Head In the Game.’ We look forward to sharing the stage adaptation of the Disney movie musical with live audiences at the end of March.”

– Katie Spiri, director

Bishop Carroll 

“The Wizard of Oz”

This beloved tale of a Kansas farm girl traveling over the rainbow to discover the magical power of home has been entertaining audiences for generations. With classic songs such as “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” “If I Only Had a Brain” and “Ding! Dong! The Witch is Dead!,” this musical production is sure to please audience members of all ages.

“This year, we are pleased to welcome 18 future Huskies from our local Catholic elementary schools to the stage to join us. The students, parents and

production team have been hard at work since early January to put on our most-challenging production yet. This show requires tricky costume changes, lots of set pieces and more special effects than we have ever done in the past. You will not be disappointed. We can’t wait to take you over the rainbow with us.”

– Gabbi Lechak, director

Bishop McCort

“Oklahoma”

The setting for “Oklahoma” is Indian Territory before Oklahoma became a state, circa 1907. It uses local customs and folksy ways to tell of the love and romance between Laurey and Curly under the watchful eye of Aunt Eller. The funny and flirtatious Ado Annie, who loves Will, the cowboy, and also Ali Hakim, the traveling peddler, creates hilarious scenes.

There is also an element of mystery with the character Jud, who loves Laurey, and creates tension within the story. With the help of the local townsfolk, the story of these people come to life with well-known songs from the famous duo of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein. Showstoppers such as “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning,” “Surrey With the Fringe on Top,” “People Will Say We’re in Love” and the iconic, “Oklahoma,” this show was dubbed the first “Folk Opera” in 1943 after it debuted on the Broadway stage.

“One thing I particularly liked about this show was the original dialect in the script. I felt this was a great opportunity for the students to experience capturing the mid-western era of our country’s early days. Our cast is diverse and shows great talent in singing and dancing. The magical ‘Dream Ballet’ features some wonderful dancers and the entire cast will bring the house down as they perform the folksy ‘The Farmer and the Cow Hand.’ We have all had a great time rehearsing this show.”

– Jean Arcurio, director

Blacklick Valley

“Footloose the Musical”

“Footloose the Musical” is an exciting, high-energy show that is sure to draw the audience in with its great songs and natural dialogue. The show, much like the original movie, follows the story of Ren McCormack, Ariel Moore and Willard Hewitt as they team up with their friends to show the adults, especially the Rev. Shaw Moore, of Bomont, that dancing is not a crime. Confronted by painful memories, fear and a desire to preserve innocence, the kids must tread carefully to keep peace while having their voices heard. The story explores sensitive issues such as teenage rebellion, abandonment, the pressures of society and how adults and kids need to work together with warm hearts and open minds to achieve a future that is best for everyone. The show is sure to pull at your heart strings and then have you rolling in the aisles.

“This show is a great challenge for high school students. Naturally, everyone has expectations based on the movie, and the students were surprised to realize the depth to the characters and the story. It’s more than a show of awesome music – although it is that, too. It’s a show of realistic challenges, broken homes, bullies, peer pressure, generation gaps, and most importantly, the power of forgiveness.”

– Jessica Strazisar, director

Cambria County Christian

“Murder with Grace”

“Murder with Grace” tells the story of Grace, who is horrified when her brother is engaged to Naomi, a shallow, witless girl whom Grace cannot stand to be around. Grace hates the thought of Naomi as her sister-in-law, and so she and her good friend Beth plan to convince Naomi to break off the engagement in order to pursue a man named Henry Huntington. They set the plan in motion before they have actually met Henry, and it works too well  – when Grace finally meets Henry, she falls head over heels for him. To make matters worse, Henry seems to like Naomi as well. For Grace, as awful as it seems, the only option is to take Naomi out of the picture, permanently. It’s a dark comedy with a dash of mystery for everyone.

“When it came to picking a show this year, I really wasn’t sure what to do. When I came across this play, I knew it would be a great fit for the cast, but a challenge for them as well. The cast has taken to their characters and has created refreshing portrayals that truthfully have been all their own doing. The play itself is one part comedy, one part mystery, and audiences will not expect the twist at the end of the play as it unfolds on the stage. While the play has its funny moments, it also asks an interesting question – what are the lengths that someone is willing to go through to get their way.”

– Sydney Beunier-Lucas, director

Cambria Heights

“Legally Blonde the Musical”

Elle Woods appears to have it all.

Her life is turned upside down when her boyfriend, Warner, dumps her so he can attend Harvard Law. Determined to get him back, Elle ingeniously charms her way into the prestigious law school. While there, she struggles with peers, professors and her ex.

With the support of some new friends, Elle quickly realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world.

“This show has been a lot of fun as we have really pushed our limits with our sets and dancing, and cast and crew have done an excellent job of stepping up to the challenge. They continuously prove that they want to be the best they can be. It is pleasure to work with such dedicated students who enjoy sharing their abilities with the community.”

– Chelsea Crandall, director

Central Cambria

“The Last Day of School”

“The Last Day of School” chronicles the final day of classes for Rochester High School, where the morning announcements are taken over by one girl who plans to do something bold and unexpected on her last day as a high school student. With the understanding that they may never have their chance to kiss the girl or confront the bully, the students go out into the hallways and muster the strength to face their fears. Through a series of connected vignettes, secret crushes, grudges and misconceptions are revealed in funny and touching ways.

In this comedy, there can be no regrets on the last day of school.

“My goal this year was to choose a show that would appeal to my students and what better topic to engage high school students than the last day of school before graduation. In this production, each period of the day brings about a new situation where students are forced to seize their last opportunity to do whatever it is they’ve always wanted to do in high school before they graduate and leave their friends forever. Scenes include characters who want to finally ask out their crush, climb the rope in gym class, confront their bully or make amends with old friends. These topics are highly relatable to our students and are sure to produce plenty of laughs, some quiet contemplation and even a few tears. My hope is that my students will realize that their time at our educational institutions will not last forever, perhaps pushing them to become bolder versions of themselves in their final years at CCHS.”

– Stephanie Reese, director

Chestnut Ridge

“42nd Street”

This iconic musical takes place in the 1930s and follows the story of revered Broadway director Julian Marsh, who falls on hard times. To put him back on top, he decides to team up with writers Maggie Jones and Bert Barry to put on one final production before his retirement. His lead actress, Dorothy Brock, is torn between two loves – the show’s backer, Abner Dillon, and the earnest but penniless actor Pat Denning – while aspiring young performer, Peggy Sawyer, waits in the wings, coaxed along by one of Broadway’s better juveniles, Billy Lawler.

“We have a great ensemble that has been working tirelessly to bring a showstopping dance-filled show to our stage. We also have been very lucky this year to have two students step forward to help on the production side of putting together a musical. Isaac Sims has been working as our set, prop and scenic designer and we are excited for our audience to see his work. He has fantastic artistic vision and has shown strong leadership qualities in this new role. We’re also proud to have Alexa Smith as our student choreographer this year. Alexa is a very talented dancer and it has been wonderful to

see her share her expertise with her peers.”

– Lauren Zeznanski, director

Conemaugh Township

“Newsies”

Disney’s “Newsies” is set in turn-of-the-century New York City, and tells the rousing tale of how Davey and Jack Kelly rally the young newsies from across the whole city to strike against the unfair working conditions of the titans of publishing, including Joseph Pulitzer. Based on the 1992 motion picture and inspired by a true story, “Newsies” features a Tony Award-winning score by Alan Menken and Jack Feldman and a book by Tony Award- winner Harvey Fierstein.

Featuring the now classic songs “Carrying the Banner,” “Seize the Day” and “Santa Fe,” “Newsies” is packed with nonstop thrills and a timeless message.

“This is a gem of a musical that audiences of all ages will enjoy. The story takes place in the 1890s but has the modern Disney orchestration and music that will have the audience singing for days after attending the production. The dancing also is a known highlight that features various styles from jazz to tap, and is led by Sharon Wissinger. The over 60 students in the cast have been hard at work since the beginning of December. Our new head of set construction, DJ Wyandt has brought in over 20 students and adults for building and paint crews. We also have two new staff members added this year. Jenny Custer is our new business manager and has set up the online tickets sales, and Catherine Kasun is our new pit orchestra director. There is a lot of excitement for the cast, crew and community that we are thrilled to be able to present our production of ‘Newsies’ for everyone to enjoy.”

– Mari Grace Lingenfelter, director

Conemaugh Valley

“The Music Man”

Wicked, funny, warm, romantic and touching, “The Music Man” is family entertainment at its best. Meredith Willson’s six-time, Tony Award-winning musical comedy has been entertaining audiences since 1957, and is a family-friendly story to be shared with every generation. “The Music Man” follows fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he vows to organize – this, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall.

“We once again have challenged our students with a well-known musical that will give them a chance to display their versatility. From seasoned performers to first-timers, our cast has stepped up to the challenge. This year, we have added to our cast by including a group of talented sixth-grade students. These young actors and actresses have been a nice complement to our older group. All the students are working hard to learn the fun songs, choreography and their individual parts. Come see our presentation of ‘The Music Man,’ and experience the pride shown by the students of Conemaugh Valley High School.”

– Lauren Morus, director

Ferndale Area

“The Skinflint of Shickshinney”

Horace Harpagon is the stingiest old codger in the town of Shickshinney in the Old West whose greatest love is not for his children – it’s for his money. The four children keep asking him for new clothes and decent food to eat, but he won’t part with a dime from his precious cash box. That’s right, he doesn’t keep his money in the bank. Instead, he hides it in the butter churn. Life gets worse when he decides to remarry and chooses the young Maryann, who is in love with his son, Clarence. A conniving cook, a matchmaker, a romantic farm hand in love with Harpagon’s eldest daughter, a saloon gal and a mischievous scamp all want to separate Horace from his money and stamps. What happens to the stingy, miserly, old man? Shickshinney may never be the same.

“This has been a fun play for our students – especially the new actors who have come a long way with the help of the ‘old-timers.’ Several students have taken the bull by the horns and really immersed themselves in their characters, which keeps the interactions on stage light and funny. ‘The Skinflint of Shickshinney’ is a play sure to delight the whole family.”

– Susan Leftwich, director

Greater Johnstown

“The Little Mermaid”

Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most-beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. With music by eight-time Academy Award- winner Alan Menken; lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater; and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs, including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.”

“This show is iconic Disney. With a host of special effects, lavish costumes and dynamic singing and dancing, we are very excited about bringing the well-known characters alive in these performances.”

– Adam Bukosky, technical director

Johnstown Christian

“James and the Giant Peach”

When James is sent by his conniving aunts to chop down their old fruit tree, he discovers a magic potion that results in a tremendous peach, and launches a journey of enormous proportions. Suddenly, James finds himself in the center of the gigantic peach, among human-sized insects with oversized personalities, but after it falls from the tree and rolls into the ocean, the group faces hunger, sharks and plenty of disagreements. Thanks to James’ quick-wit and creative thinking, the residents learn to live and work together as a family. The dangerous voyage is a success, but the adventure takes a whole new twist once they land on the Empire State Building.

“Johnstown Christian School is bringing to life Roald Dahl’s classic children’s tale, ‘James and the Giant Peach.’ For both young and old alike, this well-known story mixes together tragedy with the ever-present hope that there is more to life than your current situation. Obstacles can be overcome, fears can be conquered and families can form through the most unlikely of circumstances. This year’s young and energetic cast and crew of 34 students will be sure to take you on a heartwarming journey and make you ask yourself ‘Have You Even Begun to Wonder?’ ”

– Kelly Devett, director

Ligonier Valley

“Into the Woods”

“Into the Woods,” based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, not only brings to life beloved storybook characters but brings them together as well. The story follows the baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to go to the King’s Festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give some milk. Upon finding out they have been placed under a witch’s curse, the baker and his wife set off on a journey into the woods to break the curse. Everyone’s wishes are granted and they are on their way to happily ever after, but each one must face the consequences of their actions and the effects they had on the world around them.

“This Tony Award-winning show brings a lot of challenges to our cast, including a vocally challenging and demanding score. This group, with many rookie performers, has proven to be the hardest-working, most-driven cast with whom I have had the pleasure of working. ‘Into the Woods’ will make you laugh, cry and consider the true meaning of happily ever after.’’

– Brianna Grimm, director

North Star

“Zombie Prom”

“Zombie Prom” is a musical that takes place in the 1950s. It is set in the hallways and classrooms of the Nerico Fermi High School next to a nuclear power plant, the newsroom of Expose Magazine and a local television studio. A rebel student, Jonny is the new student at the high school. He has his own way of doing things, and then he meets “the girl next door,” Toffee, during a nuclear test drill and its love at first sight. Jonny proves to be an instant irritant to the principal, Miss Delilah Strict, and causes student disruptions at every turn, especially when he returns from his ocean grave as a teenage nuclear zombie to reclaim his one true love. Miss Delilah Strict and reporter Eddie Flagrante of the local tabloid surprise the audience with two unforeseen developments.

“Tuneful selections of original sounds in the style of the ’50s keeps the action rocking across the stage. This show is a combination of ‘Grease’ and ‘The Little Shop of Horrors.’ I’m proud of my hardworking and dedicated cast and crew.”

– Larry E. Gindlesperger, executive producer

Northern Bedford

“You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”

The whole gang is here – bossy Lucy is hopelessly in love with piano prodigy Schroeder, who doesn’t give her the time of day; perfectionist Sally is still mocking blanket-toting Linus; Snoopy is in the doghouse; and “blockhead” himself, Charlie Brown, is in rare form. Brief vignettes span the months from Valentine’s Day to Beethoven Day, from wild optimism to utter despair. In this revised version, with additional music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and dialogue by Michael Mayer, the sweet, joyful innocence of the “Peanuts” gang is maintained, but a fresh insouciance and playfulness are revealed. The new script features two new songs, particularly funny dialogue and new, catchy orchestrations.

Whether you’re keen to fly with the Red Baron, moon over the “Moonlight Sonata” or just do your best to find “Happiness,” “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” is a crowd-pleaser.

“‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ is a feel good musical in which everyone, at any age, can enjoy. With a variety of musical styles and dances and an energetic score that will make you feel like you’ve stepped into the world of Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” comics and television specials. With a larger-than-life set, colorful costumes and scenery, you’ll find yourself celebrating the small things of life as you leave each night. Our cast has been working diligently, and are doing amazing things with this production and are extremely excited to share it with audiences. You won’t want to miss this special event.”

– Brett Keith, director/music director

Northern Cambria

“Larceny and Old Lace”

Audiences of all ages will love this clever and well-crafted spoof of the community theater classic – “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Harold Peabody’s sweet aunts, Millie and Gertie, are gambling in Las Vegas while Harold stays at their home to watch over his eccentric Uncle Charlie, who thinks he is a pirate and is constantly “burying treasure” in the basement. When Harold hears the local bank has been robbed and then discovers a bag of money in the house, he declares that Charlie has buried his last treasure and decides he must go to a home for senior citizens. But Aunt Millie and Aunt Gertie can’t imagine doing such a thing. After all, Charlie had nothing to do with the bag of money. How do they know? They stole it from a casino.

They casually admit it was their 13th holdup of a gambling establishment, pleasantly reminiscing about their previous exploits. When Harold’s jailbird cousin, Mordred, shows up with his own bundle of money and the FBI hot on his heels, the pandemonium multiplies. Join the madness as Harold attempts to keep his aunts out of jail, Mordred from killing them all, his fiancee from walking out on him and himself from going insane.

“This play is an updated re-working of the comedy ‘Arsenic and Old Lace,’ which was a hit play, then made into a movie with Carey Grant. Students had asked last year to do this play, so it seemed it was a perfect pick. We have a great group of students this year that are good at comedy and work well together. Our stage crew is working hard on the sets, and we have talented students to paint flats. We are looking forward to a lot of people in the community coming out to enjoy the evening with us.”

– Susan Arford, director

Penn Cambria

“Spamalot”

“Spamalot” tells the legendary tale of King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail. Inspired by the classic comedy film “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “Spamalot” features many shenanigans and much humor.

Throughout the show, Arthur, traveling with his servant Patsy, recruits several knights to accompany him on his quest, including Sir Bedevere, Sir Robin, Sir Lancelot and Sir Galahad.

Along the way they meet such characters as the Lady of the Lake, Prince Herbert, Tim the Enchanter, Not Dead Fred, the Black Knight and the Knights who say Ni.

“We wanted to do something that would highlight the talented ensemble at Penn Cambria this year. This is the perfect show to do this. The music is awesome and we are having such a good time dancing and tapping and fisch slapping. We hope the audience enjoys the show as much as we are.”

– Holly Smith, director

Portage

“Altar Egos, The I Do’s and Don’ts of an American Wedding”

“All we want is a simple wedding,” agree Mark and Colleen as they get engaged. And their simple wedding stays simple, for about two minutes. Then, the families get involved. There’s the McMasters, who think the Frobishers are a bunch of snooty dudes, and the Frobishers, who picture the McMasters as a crowd of hillbillies. The bride’s father keeps offering the soon-to-be-wed couple thousands of dollars to elope. The bride’s mother decides to call in her sister, who is a sweet, lovely woman, until she becomes “The Coordinator,” a drill sergeant. The groom needs a best man so he enlists his uncle, Josh, who’s an old hippie. The bride’s kid sister can’t wait for the wedding since she gets the bride’s old room, if she can talk Dad out of it, who wants it for a den, if he can talk Mom out of it, who wants it for a quilting room. The two mothers are literally dueling over the rehearsal dinner seating chart while the bride and groom wonder where it all went wrong. Throw into this mix football referees, tailors, circus ringmasters, caterers and even an interpreter and you get just some of the “Altar Egos.”

“Our drama company has more than doubled in size and we seem to get new members almost every week. Our lighting, sound and stage crew are very dedicated under the direction of my assistant Tyler Cadwallader, and stage manager Shyenne Thompson. We also had an influx of new actors who have really given our already talented troupe great range. I’ve seen students who were shy and timid on stage blossom into large presences. It’s inspiring to see them come out of their shell and love what they are doing. This will be the last production for two seniors – Dakota Cann and Michael Pesta –and they will be missed. Both of these young men have been great actors and mentors to our cast.”

– Denise Moschgat, Drama Club adviser

Richland

“Curtains”

A hilarious journey for both performers and the audience, the original Broadway production garnered eight nominations at the 2007 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. It’s the brassy, bright and promising year of 1959. Boston’s Colonial Theatre is host to the opening night performance of a new musical. When the leading lady mysteriously dies on the stage, the entire cast and crew are suspects.

Enter a local detective, who just happens to be a musical theater fan.

“The kids have been working incredibly hard, through snow and ice, to bring ‘Curtains’ to life. It has an ensemble cast giving many students moments to shine, but because of all the moving parts it requires much more dedication and focus than a traditional musical with one or two leading roles. Our students have risen to the challenge and can’t wait to share their hard work with the community.”

– Jacob St. Clair, director

Rockwood

“The Magic of Broadway”

It’s musical time for the students at Rockwood Area High School and they are struggling on helping to choose a production to do for the upcoming spring musical. For years, they have been throwing around the idea of doing an actual Broadway show, but with royalties and casting problems they just can’t decide on one that appeals to the majority of the cast and is affordable. They have found a solution that will allow the audience to sit back and relax, while taken on a spellbinding journey, that is sure to enchant everyone with Broadway shows of the past and present.

“The cast is comprised of 58 students and the musical is filled with so many entertaining songs and dances. We’re sure that there will be magic in the air and everyone will leave with a little glitter in their eyes.”

– Susie Branam, director

Shanksville-Stonycreek

“Fractured”

The story evolves around a fairy-tale princess from the kingdom of Aluminum who falls in love with a human from She Ka Goo. Her parents do not approve and meanwhile no fairy tales are reaching their conclusions because children no longer read fairy tales.

Hilarity is added by a forgetful fairy Godmother and an egotistical wizard.

“This play is great for the whole family and children will especially enjoy the experience of live theater. We have a large cast of 29 students who have trouble doing their lines without laughing at the extremely funny script.”

– Jay Shaffer, Drama Club adviser

Somerset

“Fiddler on the Roof”

The musical takes place on a fictional Russian shtetl, or Jewish village, called Anatevka during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II. Tevye, a poor dairy farmer, has raised his five daughters with his wife, Golde, according to Jewish tradition. But one by one, his three oldest daughters resist tradition by marrying the men they choose rather than those designated by a matchmaker, and Tevye accepts the bending of tradition insofar as it does not violate Jewish law. But the Tsar’s increasing persecution of Russian Jews leads to the violent disruption of the villagers’ lives, culminating in the forced removal of the Jewish people from the town.

Although they lose their homes and land, Tevye and his fellow villagers persist, preparing to restart their lives in new places.

“I am extremely excited to be working with so many hardworking, talented students this year. Their level of commitment to this show has been extraordinary. These young actors are truly devoted to the ‘tradition’ of Somerset musicals. Many hours of dedication and tons of persistence are sure to make our version of ‘Fiddler’ a delightful experience for all who attend. Please join us when the curtain goes up on this time-honored classic brought to life by an absolutely fantastic cast.”

– Susan DiPasquale, director

Westmont Hilltop

“The Music Man”

“The Music Man follows fast-talking traveling salesman Harold Hill as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he vows to organize – this, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen.

“ ‘The Music Man’ is one of the most popular and most-produced American musicals. When the show opened in 1957, many of these elements were new and groundbreaking – the use of ‘talking’ songs that didn’t rhyme was a particular oddity. I hesitate to say it was quite as monumental as ‘Hamilton,’ but perhaps in 1957, to many, it was. We have had great fun in reliving those days of more than 100 years ago, and we hope you have an equally good time joining us.”

– Biff Baron, director

Kelly Urban is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. She can be reached at (814) 532-5073. Follow her on Twitter @KellyUrban25.